One of the things I value about the Synod’s Vision and Mission Principles is that they tell us who we are, and call us to more truly become who we are, for the sake of serving the reign of God.
At the recent Synod meeting there were many moments where I saw the already and the still-becoming nature of the Vision and Mission Principles on display.
I want to share just three of those moments.
In sharing these examples I encourage each of you to think about the places in your own life and faith community where you glimpse the Vision and Mission Principles being lived out. I also hope that you will pray and talk and plan for ways in which you, and your community of faith, can grow more fully into the Vision and Mission Principles.
Members of Synod who presented or asked questions included the First Peoples’ name for their home as a tiny sign that we live on stolen land. Glimpses of what it might mean to be a church where we walk together as First and Second Peoples. But we have a long way to go and much to be done so that we can more fully live into this vision.
Both the Tasmanian and Victorian Congress reports at Synod told of their work amongst First Peoples. We heard about the role of Leprena and Narana as places for First Peoples to gather, to engage in community development that builds stronger more resilient people and communities.
Ken Sumner, State Director, Congress Victoria, invited us to take seriously the large gap between what we hope to be and who we actually are : “Where is the space in this Synod to talk about treaty? When will this Synod start to talk seriously about sovereignty?”
We need to have these urgent and important conversations if we want to say with any integrity that we walk together as First and Second Peoples.
Dr Hee-Jeong Silvia Yang, dressed in a beautiful traditional Korean Chima jeogori, comes to the Synod lectern and reads the scripture in Spanish. We hear the scripture in a fresh way and see an embodiment of what it might mean to become an intercultural church, where we learn across cultures and from each other.
This intercultural learning changes us, as it invites us to see how the good news of Jesus Christ is incarnate in different cultures. It helps us to see, in fresh ways, what God is doing and invites us to new expressions of discipleship.
To become a church that listens to each culture means those of us from the dominant culture need to give up our privilege and make space for multiple languages, multiple cultural expressions and diverse ways of being a follower of Jesus Christ. To grow into being a church that learns from other cultures invites us to be open, curious and generous with each other in order that the letter we display to the world speaks of the diversity we have in the unity of Christ.
Karen Sooaemalelagi stands at the microphone, a supportive friend beside her, and delivers an impassioned speech on behalf of the young adults at the Synod. As she speaks the young adults stand to show that she speaks for them too. They plead for the Synod to make youth and young adults a priority. Not because they want to take from the church, but because they want to be equipped for discipleship, they want to be servants of Jesus Christ and his ways in the world.
Several times throughout the Synod meeting we were reminded that there are plenty of young people in the church, if only we notice and make space for them. As we grow into our desire to listen to each generation, we need to continue to find ways to listen to the children, youth and young adults in communities. And to do so in ways that make it possible for them to share their faith and their hopes for the church.
Three glimpses of the Vision and Mission Principles from the Synod meeting that also invite us to continue to grow into them. Where do you see the Vision and Mission Principles being lived out in your community of faith? Where are the growing edges? Who can you have a conversation with about what the Vision and Mission Principles might mean in your community and church?
walking together as First and Second Peoples
seeking community, compassion and justice for all creation.